Harry & Meghan Netflix Vol 1. review | Simply astonishing

Part one of Harry & Meghan, the long awaited Netflix show, has finally arrived. We finished it in one morning. Find our review below.

Harry & Meghan (1) harry meghan spotify


Separating the art from the artist, Harry & Meghan is an atrocious piece of television.

Examining why and for whom it was made, it becomes as damning an indictment of narcissism, misplaced victimhood and delusion of grandeur as you could ever wish to see.

I remember the wedding well. I was sitting next to my Granny, a traditional Scottish woman of a fading generation, in her flat in Edinburgh. We drank tea and ate chocolate gingers and witnessed a real-life fairytale unfold. 

A staunch believer in the royal family, my Granny loved it. More of a sceptic, I will admit I was suddenly pious, dipping my biscuit and shedding a tear at this princess finding her prince charming.

What made watching that scene in Windsor so wonderful was that it temporarily suspended reality. It was a mirage of impossible, otherworldly bliss; a mirage only an institution fundamentally removed from reality could achieve. Perhaps that’s what the royal family are really for.

Harry & Meghan

Credit: Netflix

Anyway, I digress, because the issue, it seems, was that our two star-crossed lovers didn’t realise it was a fairytale. Throughout Harry & Meghan, the pair’s delusion of grandeur is genuinely astounding, as they alternate between claiming to want an ordinary little life, and demonstrating how removed from anything ordinary they actually are.

I should say now, while I still have a chance, I could have quite happily – in fact I’d really rather have liked – to, in Stormzy’s words, “leave Meghan alone”. She was treated horrendously. British tabloids are a national disgrace. Paparazzi are scum. Piers Morgan is a wanker. Marrying into a European royal family as a mixed-race, American actress must have been beyond difficult, and if Meghan and Harry had to leave the royal family for their own mental wellbeing, they absolutely made the correct decision.

All of the above can be true, as can the fact that so much of the pair’s supposed plight remains self-indulgent luxury, and that instead of sailing off into the Californian sunset as they maintain, the Sussexes have jumped in front of every Californian camera they can find to slander the institution that gave them any relevance whatsoever, all done exclusively for their own personal gain. Wealth, notoriety, adoration, awards, power – they want it all.

harry & meghan

Honestly, there is so, so much wrong with Harry & Meghan, it’s difficult to know where to properly begin. I suppose we’ll start with how they met: Instagram. Harry – or H, I should say – saw a photo of Meghan – or M, I should say – with the Snapchat dog filter on, and he was besotted. He made his fondness known to a mutual friend. She asked to see his Instagram feed to get “a real sense of him”. She says she liked his photography. A pair of whirlwind dates followed, capped off with a singular selfie, each leaving with a childlike giddiness for the other. This eventually led to a five-day humanitarian trip in the Botswana bush, as one does. 

If you remove the budding couple’s unending hubris – after literally meeting three times – about how they already knew the significance and singularity of their ‘love story’, it’s moderately sweet. 

The Netflix story is told primarily through interviews with Harry and Meghan (or Haz and Meg, or H and M, or any other trite variation of two normal names) both sitting down in their Montecito mansion, as well as self-recorded ‘video diaries’ they filmed from the time. Both formats make for equally difficult viewing. It’s unclear if either realises just how vacuous the other one is, or if Netflix is indeed in on the joke.

Try as they might, the pair are not funny, not insightful and their story is not special. Pretending they’re some pioneers of true love and ‘invented a way to make long distance work’ is laughable; convincing themselves that their interracial love story trumps others who have made it work, in far more difficult circumstances, is borderline offensive. 

Another frightful combination is thinking you are exceptional, while indulging in every cliche in the book: photobooth photoshoots, acoustic guitars, fedoras, gentle pianos, sunsets, beach walks, hand-holding and monosyllabic nicknames. It’s like a Matthew McConaughey romcom from 20 years ago. It’s all been done before and it’s been rinsed for all it’s worth. If these things make Harry and Meghan happy, I’m delighted for them, but their smugness, as if they’ve invented this new, pure form of love, is unbearable.

harry & meghan

From the early days of the couple’s love story, Harry & Meghan moves into the story of Prince Harry’s childhood, and the death of his mother, Diana. While it would be nice if the world could have left Meghan alone, I fear Harry needed to be left alone, and there is no way back from this. He means well, he’s got a big heart, but he’s clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed, and for his entire life, his emotions have been exploited by people around him. The effect of this must be unimaginable, but Netflix, in Harry & Meghan, just continues that trend. He needed to take his beautiful family and walk away. 

Instead, he’s settling scores. “There’s a hierarchy to the royal family,” Harry complains in what must be one of the most profoundly stupid things I have ever heard. Really, Harry? That well-known hereditary institution has a hierarchy? Huh, you don’t say. 

Also lost is the fundamental irony of complaining about your private life being invaded, while airing dirty, personal laundry for the world to see. Complaining about the prying eyes of millions, while inviting them into your luxurious house, and taking millions of dollars for it, is not good optics. These are basics, but they’ve been lost on a pair of entitled, inflated egos, desperate to finally have their say, not realising that being able to tell your story is, in itself, an incredibly rare privilege.

There’s been a recent fad of prefacing the word truth with the word my. Harry & Meghan is one large “my truth”. The problem is that by employing the word my in this context, you remove the wonderful objectivity that is a hallmark of the word truth. It’s kind of the entire point. There is no such thing as “my truth”. There is no such thing as your truth. The truth is the truth. The truth is what happened. Opinion is healthy and should be readily encouraged, but the sheer, unabated arrogance to dare to label your opinion as some personal brand of truth is repulsive. Further, if you lose sight of true and false, you invite crises far more severe than the trivial afflictions Harry and Meghan moan so relentlessly about.

My truth is just one of the many Sussex-uttered phrases that makes you want to stick two fingers down your throat and empty your guts wherever you sit. This pair are absolutely full of them: bland platitudes meaning nothing at all, masquerading as profound wisdom, delivered with a truly nauseating conceit.

In episode two, you meet Meghan’s mother, Doria, a woman I’ve seen a lot of but never heard from, and I must admit she seems quite lovely. Caring, passionate, restrained, thoughtful, I think a lot of Meghan’s undeniable strengths have clearly been instilled by Doria. We learn more about Meghan and her childhood, growing up in Los Angeles, where she’s described as empathetic and genial. Meghan looks out the car window, reminiscing over the private, peaceful life she’s left behind.

One of the most amusing – in fact the only amusing – parts of the film, comes when Meghan visits her old school, Little Red School House. While there, an old teacher digs out a letter that Meghan once wrote, which, with the Netflix cameras rolling, is read aloud. It ends: “P.S. When I am rich and famous, when I write my life story, I will talk about the school so you will be known worldwide.” Meghan erupts into laughter, trying to mask the embarrassment, immediately realising that the letter has exposed her lifelong goal for world-renown, thereby contradicting all of the selfless, begrudging-princess nonsense she’s spouted until now.

Of course, Meghan was a ‘nerd’ growing up. “I was never the pretty one,” she laughs. Most people never are, but okay, poor Meghan. Instead, she was a budding activist, and even now, looking back, it’s clear that from an early age, this was a bright, enthused, righteous child, focusing on helping other people and combatting societal issues. It’s admirable. Doria and Meghan reflecting on conversations regarding race that they could and perhaps should have had earlier is one of the few moments of genuine authenticity in the show. Doria shows some self-doubt. Meghan doesn’t.

harry & meghan 3

From then onward, sadly, it gets even worse. Here begins the juxtaposition between the idyllic life Meghan had before meeting Harry, and the apparent gilded cage she’s been confined to since. The pair genuinely don’t seem to see the issue in and moaning and moaning and moaning about having to fly across the Atlantic each weekend, and then not being given total privacy on country retreats.

The pacing of the story disappears as well, both monotonous and rushed, Netflix nevertheless succeeding in making everything look as sleek and vapid as the rest of the couple’s Montecito home.

Eventually, in a roundabout way, we get to Meghan meeting the royal family. Harry’s initial thought that perhaps his family were intimidated by Meghan’s “beauty and intelligence” tells you all you need to know. The reason Meghan and the rest of the royal family didn’t click? She was just too impressive

It’s true, Meghan is gorgeous and evidently clever. She’s more intelligent than Harry. She’s a very capable writer and businesswoman, as well as an international aid volunteer, on top of being a successful actress, and that was all achieved before she met her prince charming.

It is, in fact, Meghan’s intelligence that makes her constant feigned ignorance so unbelievable. She knows and has known exactly what was going on, rendering the retrospective clueless victim card unplayable, no matter how many times she puts it on the table while slowly collecting a single tear from her eye.

harry & meghan

Despite the intelligence, there are plenty of moments of gross stupidity. Meghan wonders why, for example, the Sussexes’ lives failed to improve the more Britain got to know the couple. Rather, she says, their lives got worse. I don’t think she ever stops to acknowledge the possibility that this is because the more people got to know them, the more they disliked what they saw: an entitled, pretentious, self-serving pair of millionaires. 

Then they described their engagement interview as “orchestrated reality”. Whatever aspect was orchestrated is never revealed. Instead they settle, as they often do, on the fact that they couldn’t tell their story. Until now. Now they can. The muzzle’s off. This is their story. 

Which is what makes the abomination that comes next so particularly loathsome. It’s a very basic, rudimentary history lesson, reducing the multi-generational issues of Imperial Britain, the Commonwealth and racism in the modern UK to mere minutes. It treats atrocities with a cavalier disregard, allotting as much time to, say, the slave trade, as they do to Meghan having to wear bland colours and learning how to curtsy. The Commonwealth is given a 30-second, disgustingly-Americanised oversimplification – at one point the Caribbean is called the British Deep South. Worst of all, at the end of the history lesson, they seem to suggest that Meghan and Harry – reformed from dressing up as a Nazi and now a committed anti-racist – could solve all of these issues. It’s preposterous.

Teaching people about historical horrors is necessary and long overdue. Reducing them to an afterthought, towards the end of the third episode in a petty documentary, in which you are the saviour, is an absolute disgrace. 

Volume I ends with the Thomas and Samantha Markle wedding kerfuffle. This is the first time in three hours that the subject matter is befitting of the abysmal, reality show treatment it is given.


  • jpike496253 says:

    This is a very good article and the most insightful one that I have read so far. I still think the author is a bit too kind regarding H&M, but he does a wonderful job of exposing the problems with them and their documentary.

  • jpike496253 says:

    Wondering how it is possible that her old school still had the letter she wrote more than 30 years ago. That had to have been staged as well.

  • taikatalvi20135802 says:

    I disagree with your article, it is just a hypocritical attempt to be fair and then behave just like any trash media does. Quite as fixated, obsessed, too narrow sighted. For us, who watch the whole “event” from greater distance, it seems that brits do have problems to admit how toxic this whole phenomenon going on with the Royal Family is. It is only hundred years, the Commonwealth was as largest. As largest was also the robbing from other cultures. Catherine might have a valuable jewel collection, but what are they, blood diamonds, nothing else. There is going to be big adjust with the younger generation, who, luckily, will be more healthier attitudes towards royals. In the end, Harry and Meghan are the product of sickness called Royal Family and they at least have taken the move to speak in their own terms. That must be terribly relieving to them. OR this was just a bad evaluation. You don’t have to walk through the wholeseries, you might just say something more NOTEWORTHY and INSIGHTFUL.

    • gk75bc8606 says:

      Hey Taikatalvi20135802 about your comment…., yes the British did steal diamonds. If you are living in America then why don’t you talk about your ancestors stealing this continent from the Natives. Talk about yourself living on stolen land. My ancestors were robbed, slaughtered, raped, massacred by your ancestors. To top that off your ancestors brought in Negros for slavery…they were abused, raped, etc. So let’s hear you talked about how AWFUL the British are for stealing diamonds.

  • pettiten9397 says:

    Quite frankly , half way through the first episode I couldn’t bare the whole idea that these two have had such trauma worth reflecting over and seeking public interest.

    Needy/ ungrateful and grow up
    Comes to kind !
    get a good grip on reality and real life
    They are “clueless “

    Life for many is much deeper and meaningful
    There is REAL crises everywhere ,

    Their position could thrive change
    but instead they feel sorry for themselves

    Pls grow up !! .

    There are old people cold and dying of the cold …
    that is more tragic than
    “”” Harry and Meghan go large on feeling sorry for themselves “”””

    get a grip !
    Watch at ur own cringe- discresion !

  • patrice.hauck1347 says:

    I completely concur. They are both laughably absurd and I have the sneaking suspicion Miss Markle wrote the entire Netflix script.

Leave a Reply

More like this